19 November 2021

The Magyar Nemzeti Bank held the Budapest Eurasia Forum bearing the title “Sustainable Recovery and Prosperity in Eurasia -Trends, Future, Solutions” for the third time, which was a great success. In six thematic panels, 43 speakers from 15 countries discussed various topics such as the changing role of central banks in the post-COVID era, development of the Eurasian geopolitical field of force, stimulation of innovation as the driving force of economies, opportunities for multilateral cooperation in the green turnaround, and the development of digital infrastructure and digital literacy.

Following the opening keynote speeches, 43 speakers from 15 countries discussed today's most pressing economic, financial geopolitical, technological, multilateral and educational issues online, in six thematic panels over the past two days.

In the first panel discussion, participants discussed the role of central banks in the pandemic, tools for crisis management, their impact and experiences. COVID-19 posed unexpected challenges for all economic actors, including central banks. In addition to boosting economies, central banks must also address the megatrends of the 21st century, such as fostering sustainable and green growth. All this entails a change in their traditional role. The speakers also focused on the new roles of central banks and the lessons learnt from the pandemic, taking into account such challenges as the main adverse effects of climate change and new pandemics.

The geopolitical panel examined recent developments in international politics, with a particular focus on Asia and Europe. COVID-19 has changed the form of global politics and economic relations, posing a challenge to nations and communities around the world. Through the Eurasian partnership, the nations of Central Asia, South-East Asia and Europe may have a new chance for economic and social recovery after the pandemic. One of the key questions of the current geopolitical changes is whether Eurasian cooperation can build a new centre of power in international politics.

The third panel, focusing on digital infrastructure and technology, provided those who followed the discussion with answers to many compelling questions. The panel examined how digital infrastructure increases social and economic resilience and how the technology industry has responded to the pandemic.

The second day of the event started with a panel discussion on economy and provided a comprehensive overview of the role of innovation, being a key driver of economic competitiveness these days, its latest trends and developments in investment in the knowledge economy and modern infrastructure. The panel explored all these issues in an economic policy and international context, i.e. identifying the factors underlying the success of regions, countries and clusters at the forefront of innovation was a key consideration. Based on the performance and strategies of recent years, the focus was primarily on the economies of the Far East and their high-tech companies. It highlighted the most important elements of the Western and Asian innovation and investment promotion models, and best practices that can be identified to enable the two regions to learn from each other and cooperate.

Green partnership and green multilateralism were the topics of the next panel. The discussions aimed to explore opportunities for cooperation to tackle current global challenges such as the pandemic and climate change. They reviewed how current megatrends such as green sustainable development are shaping partnership in the Eurasian region. The panel discussed all this from the perspective of multilateral institutions and national initiatives in the light of green sustainable megatrends. The participants of the panel discussion explored the main initiatives and partnerships in the Eurasian region that foster green development at the regional level and the way the region can become an engine of global sustainable development.

The last panel of the event highlighted the growing role of digital literacy. Digitalisation, which affects every aspect of our life, also requires a different set of skills. Identifying these skills is crucial for education policymakers and institutions. The panel discussed the ongoing digital transformation from an educational perspective and highlighted the main duties of universities in providing the right skills for the digital age.

As a final note of the Eurasia Forum, Mihály Patai, Deputy Governor of the central bank, concluded that the discussions of the experts could help identify the new roles of central banks and key components of economic and financial innovation. He added that global challenges such as climate change can only be tackled through global partnerships. He stressed that talent and people are key to any nation's development and to fostering innovation.

The Budapest Eurasia Forum can be viewed on the event's website: https://mnb.hu/eurasia